The Right Time

To change as gracefully as the seasons.

I had to smile at myself as I was trying to make the bedroom blinds hang level. Gently releasing the left cord and then the right, back and forth until it fell into a level edge. I thought, “Wow Barb. If only you could do that in real life.”

Just by pulling the right cord.

My circumstances are changing, but it’s not happening fast enough for me. The first glimpse was last Christmas and it was like God whispered, “Get ready. It’s coming.”

I know I’m being ridiculous. We don’t end a day in Winter and wake up to an immediate Spring. (We sorta do in Texas, but you catch my drift) It happens gradually my darling. Each day and night becomes a little bit warmer, until we arrive in a new season.

I made this comment to my daughter. “By the end of March my life will look totally different.” It just fell out of my mouth and I don’t know whether to be excited, or scared.

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It’s not my job to hurry change or slow it down, but today I want to. Just like the blinds, I wanted to hold one cord in each hand to feel that sense of control with this change. I wanted to see the sun streaming in instead of looking at the clouds.

I want, I want, I want, is not how it works, thankfully. I’m not in charge and today I can be grateful for that. Have Faith in what you know. The sun is still shining above the clouds. I don’t have to see it to know.

The dominoes are lining up, and a gentle breeze will begin their fall, at the right time.

Here and Now

Today is one of those rare days where I feel I’m right where I need to be. I spent the better part of yesterday cleaning my home, and rearranging items to make them more eye pleasing. I bought a lamp.

I’ve always been drawn to light.

I didn’t need a lamp, but this lamp replaced one that wasn’t giving off the right light for the space it was in. I had gone to this store to find a storage container when I saw the lamp. I walked out of the store carrying the lamp and no storage container. 🙂

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Shout our to Little Fears for Lucy hanging in the background.

I love the streams of light.

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When my daughter and I moved out of the country and into this sleepy little lake town, I wasn’t sure it was the right move. It took time for it to feel right.

One year later, I’m working part time at the local pizza place. A young couple sitting at a table asked, “Why are you here?”, like I looked out of place.

My response was, “To bless others.”

He quoted a scripture and we began talking about God and what He is doing in our lives. I mentioned this Blog and my hope to bless others through writing. He told me this town I live in is for writers.

He began telling me some of the history of the town and it used to be considered a haven for writers. His neighbor rents his house to writers throughout the year when they need a quiet space for inspiration.

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When I first began at the pizza place, I asked God, “Why?” Three months later I’m able to relax and have meaningful conversations with patrons. They bless me just as much as I bless them.

God puts us in places that makes us wonder ‘why’, but we need to trust it’s part of a greater plan.

It may not make sense, and it will be uncomfortable at first, but today I know we’re right where we need to be.

Trust the Wait

I didn’t do my Morning Pages this morning. I spent time with my daughter before she left for her college classes. Wednesday’s are like that.

I’m still haunted by yesterday’s Morning Pages.

It was basically three pages of questions. Then later in the day I saw these words, “Choose uncertainty over unhappiness.” That is what I chose to do. 

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Every thought turned into a question mark.

I envisioned scooping the question marks off the page and into my hand. Then I threw them up in the air as if saying, “Let it all go and see what stays.”

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This morning I came across a Blog I posted four years ago, and re-posted two years later. What’s funny is I cannot recall what was happening in my life at the time of the post. Reading it gave me the feeling of staring up at a giant while holding a slingshot. Whatever it was is no longer here, and wasn’t memorable. You can read the post here.

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It’s a change of season and with that uncertainty can visit. That doesn’t mean it has permission to drag us over into unhappiness.

Today my lovely, just trust the wait.

The End Result

My daughter and I went to Houston this week, and saw Noah Gundersen. It was a lovely venue, and Noah is not very well-known yet, so the crowd was small and intimate. Getting there was a struggle. We exited the interstate, were stopped by a red light in a major intersection in downtown Houston, and the car stopped running. It completely died.

She starting crying, but I remained calm, and called AAA.

I was grateful to be with her. God does this all the time in our lives. When one is weak, the other is strong. When she is having a low day, I am on top of the world, and vice versa.

Our circumstances didn’t look very good, but God is faithful. He gives us the tools we need to get out of any situation we’re in. A man pulled up beside us, got out of his van putting himself in danger, wanting to push her car out of the busy intersection. AAA showed up at that point, got us out of the intersection, and the man went back to the safety of his van. We had to stay calm and trust the journey.

Today’s reading in Jesus Calling says, “Put more energy into trusting Me, and enjoying my presence. Don’t let your well-being depend on your circumstances. Instead, connect your joy to My precious promises.” November 5th.

The car was towed to a mechanic, and there was a lady there having her tires checked. She noticed us stepping out of the cab of the tow truck, and asked if she could give us a ride to the hotel. She was a delight, and it surprised her when I gave her a big hug for the rescue. I don’t believe she was accustomed to being hugged, so this small act of kindness caught her off guard. I was grateful for her, and to be standing safely in front of the hotel. It was beautiful!

It took longer to get through our circumstances than it did to drive to Houston. Our hotel was 5 miles away from where the car broke down, but we couldn’t leave. Plus, the Astros had won the World Series the night before, so it was chaotic! What we face may look daunting, but give it a little wink, and trust the journey. The end result is worth it.

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Front and center with Noah.

Feel the Music

I know I have been sharing a lot of Christian music recently, but that is what I have been listening to.

Music was not a part of my life for a season.

Four years ago, I had this phone I absolutely loved, and it had free music on it. You may recall, it’s the phone I used to play my praise and worship music on the pier in Praise Him Anyway

My phone carrier stopped offering the free music feature. When my daughter received a stereo for Christmas, music was back in our home. God wants us to hear, and feel the music.

Psalm 95:1 says, “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.” This week, I have been singing so much, and so loudly, my throat is sore.

It all started when my daughter hooked up the sub-woofer. It was more than just hearing it like before. I could feel it.

This is song number three this week, but every time it comes on the radio, I jump up and start singing along with it. I’ve danced so much, my dog tries to dance along with me. If my 12-year-old dog gets excited, my hope is God does too.

Through this song, God is saying, “If you could only let your guard down. You could learn to trust me somehow. I swear, that I won’t let you go.”

I’m finally to the point of not letting Him go either.

A Better Life

I was talking to a friend a while back about Letting Go. She still harbors some anger toward her ex-husband, so I offered assistance. She said, “I’m not sure I wanna let go! Sometimes I use it as fuel to get stuff done.” At first I laughed, but afterwards, I could relate.

The quote below is from the book, “A Better Way To Live“, by Og Mandino. This post is entitled, “A Better Life”, because to have ‘a better life’, you need, ‘a better way to live.’

Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward toward the life God intended for you…with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.

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This is one of my favorite Memes. I love how it has a child displayed, instead of a grownup. We are supposed to have child-like faith, and know that we are valuable.

We are a child of the one true King.

He already says we are more valuable than the birds, (Matt. 6:26), and they are well taken care of everyday. Have you ever seen a stressed out bird? I haven’t.

My daughter reads my Blog usually before I publish it. She read the one I wrote earlier this week about, How to Have a Beautiful Life, and claimed it as one her favorites.

When we devalue ourselves it should be disturbing. Otherwise we are settling for less than God’s very best for us. Your spirit should give you some signs. You are valuable.

For me, it’s like something is taking up space in my heart, but not fulfilling me anymore. At one time this was a welcome addition to my beautiful life, but now it adds no beauty or life. I remember what it feels like to get disturbed, and make a decision not to take it anymore. If you feel devalued, I give you permission right now to let it disturb you.

Once you make a decision to let it go, you will feel lighter. Everything that Og says in the suggestion above will occur. Some people are afraid to let go of what they have because it’s better than having nothing.

In my experience, God always has better in store. By letting go of what we have that doesn’t bring us joy, we’re trusting Him to bring us into a better life.

 

The Potter’s Wheel

I was talking to my daughter yesterday about God, and how He has always taken care of us, and our every need. We don’t have any needs, and I don’t really see Him dropping the ball.

I woke up counting how much time I have today, before I’d be sitting in the Chemo chair.

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This whole Chemo thing has been a battle between God and me. I would like a softer, easier route, but He sees some things that need to be burned off. Stubbornness being one. I told my daughter yesterday one of the first things I learned through this is, I’m not in control of much. She sees the rough edges I so proudly wore being burned off, and made smooth.

I was also thinking this morning of when I first started Chemo, and was my perky, confident self walking into the room. After the first few sessions, I didn’t feel much difference. It was when I woke up one morning to a pillowcase covered in long brown hair that it knew it was about to get real. When I showered, it fell out and stuck to my body.

I recall trying to get it off my skin, but there was so much I just stood in the shower and cried. It was like the cleansing, Part 1, had begun. What may not have been affecting me much on the inside, was drastically changing what I saw on the outside. Knowing other things in my life I had been though, and won, I remember thinking, “I can handle this.”

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That was my first mistake. It’s not about me, and what I can take. It’s about God, and an opportunity to make me stronger.

The entire process started off slow, and relatively easy. After my fourth Chemo, I could feel it building up inside of me. One week in between treatment wasn’t enough. It was a gradual build, just like a slow spin on the potters wheel.

The spin became more intense, so by the time I had my 12th treatment, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I surely didn’t recognize the woman in the mirror.

After my 12th treatment, I had a three week break.

The doctors told me I wouldn’t see any hair growth until months after my last treatment. The mirror showed the edges softening. My eyebrows came back dark grey, and fluffy, and I have a thin layer of hair on my head. It feels soft, and fuzzy, like a peach, and it feels new.

After the 3 week break, the fire got intense. The Red Devil, (A/C) stepped in for the burn down. My thought has always been, God is going to burn this tumor down, and that will be the end of it. I guess I didn’t think that I would also be in the fire with the tumor. After today, just one more treatment. Can I do this? No way, but God can do it, and He will.

Scoop and Skim

It took me 50 years to learn the art of napping. All I can say lovelies is, be a faster learner than me. We all have 24 hours in a day. It’s how we use them that brings quality to life.

1Holmes Backyard Photographs

This is a photo of my backyard 10 years ago.

When we bought this house, the backyard resembled a football field, cradled by these Texas Live Oaks. It took me 3 years to surrender to having this pool put in. Most companies wanted to bulldoze the trees down, so they would have a clean, easy slate.

My then husband was a designer, and he loved landscape design, so he had it all figured out.

That pool was my first glimpse into the present moment. I love hands on type work, where you can see the fruits of your labor. The pool company showed me how to take care of it, and give it’s weekly maintenance. This was one of the first, successful saltwater pools, so if we had a hard rain, it would beat all the salt out.

Nothing like waking up to a green pool!

1Holmes Pool #1

Here is a bird’s eye view. This was the backyard, so you can imagine what all needed taking care of inside the house. That was my life. Taking care of man-made beauty.

Did it bring me joy? One small part of it did. Turning on the waterfall, and gazing into the clear blue water.

The maintenance entailed turning all power off, and backwashing the pump. Unrolling many feet of hose, and placing the end far away from any flowers for the dirty water to have a safe place to go. Roll the hose up back up tightly with precision, and then dumping 50lb bags of salt into the pool. That was the chemical part.

Now it was time to scoop and skim.

This was my favorite part. I would take a long handled net, and walk along all the large rocks you see encompassing the pool. Scooping and skimming the surface of all the debris from those blasted trees. The trees brought some shade, but they were mainly left there for looks. If it looked good, it stayed, no matter the financial cost, or the price paid.

Fast-forward 10 years, and today my life is simple. The house I live in today is about the size of the guest house sitting behind that pool. The monthly payment on that house, was more than I make in a month today.

When I left that life behind, all I had was God, my daughter, and me. I can see the natural beauty of life, and have time to care for ‘who’, and not ‘what’.

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I recall moving into our first little house, almost 4 years ago, and staring at the bed. I could not remember the last time I took a nap, because I wanted to, not because I had run myself down. I announced to my daughter in the other room, “I’m taking a nap.” She didn’t question it, but surely she thought it was odd. I fell across that bed, and let myself rest.

I believe God taught me that for a reason. It was normally just a 20 to 30 minute power nap. Anything longer than 30 minutes made me feel worse. I got napping down to a science, and saw that if I took better care of me, I was able to take better care of those who needed me.

My quality of life is based on the time I give it.

God, and Chemo have taught me I have very little control over the way I feel, and what I can accomplish in a day. I am just grateful to be writing this the day after Chemo! I have been strong for 30 years, so I discard that cape, and trust God in every area of my life.

I still remember the serenity in scoop and skim.

Prayer of Protection

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Stepping out on my front porch this morning, I looked up at the bird’s nest that has housed four baby birds, and saw only two. They have grown up so fast! Just a few weeks ago, I saw four bald heads up there. They had a few, small random hairs on their heads. I could relate!

I have raised my daughter to the best of my ability, and trust God to do the rest. I have not said ‘No’ often, because I trust her judgement. I would rather her learn everything she can, while she’s still in the nest, so when she flies, she will know what to expect. I want her to have strong wings, like the eagle, but watching her learn to fly sucks.

She is going to a concert tonight.

I have always told her, “I trust you. It’s just the people around you I have a problem with.” The band is Twenty-one Pilots. She was introduced to this band by a boy that came into her life a year ago via social media. This boy was in a world of pain, and she was there to listen. It was hard to watch, and she got hurt, but she learned a lot from that boy. God’s grace was upon her, and He healed her heart.

I prayed for God to send the right person to accompany her to this concert. I wanted her to go with someone I felt would protect her from the crowd. One of her very best friends is a guy she doesn’t get to see very often. One time they were hanging out together, and she asked to ride his skateboard. He handed it to her, and she hopped on. When he saw she was going to crash, he dove toward her and landed between her and the pavement. He is going.

Yesterday, I did something completely illegal. She received a letter from her boyfriend, that lives in Missouri, and she wrote him right back. He had gone on a mission trip, and didn’t have his phone for 10 days, so her wrote her a letter. The good ol’ days right? She wanted to mail her letter to him immediately, so I sat still and told her, “Go ahead. You know how to drive.”

She has been driving since January with a permit, and will have her license in a couple of weeks. She is an excellent driver. Better than most adults I know. She drives me to Chemo once a week, and I usually sleep on the ride home. That is how confident I am in her ability to drive. I believe she has been uneasy about driving alone, so she has lingered getting her license.

I saw this letter as a good opportunity to let her fly. She hopped in her car, and drove off to the Post Office. We live in a very small town, so the Post office is less than a mile away. The only thing you have to worry about here, is a cow, or tractor, stepping out in front of you. When I first learned of my Breast Cancer, she drove me in and out of downtown Austin, so this was cake.

After she had left, I stepped out on the porch, and leaned against one of the large posts. I was filled with peace, and knowing that God had this. Now with this concert, I have to believe, God will protect my daughter from the world around her. There is a prayer I have been praying over her since she was tiny. It has saved my sanity as a parent, and gives me strength.

Prayer of Protection for Your Family by Kellie Copeland Kutz

Allowing her to be a part of this world, but not of this world is rough. She knows more about what’s going on in the world, than I do. We talk about everything, and she shares with me all the crazy stuff she sees on social media. It’s a scary world out there, and I’m not excited about letting her go into it without me. Mama’s…Do your best, and let God do the rest.